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Thank you for the memories, Sachin Tendulkar

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Sachin Tendulkar - 198 Tests, 463 ODIs, 1 International T20, 37 Ranji games, 6 IPL seasons, 3 seasons of Champions League T20, and more than 50,000 runs across formats against varied opponents. These numbers are statsmen’s delight. What these numbers don’t tell though is how many memories has he created for cricket viewers in India, Australia, England, West Indies, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and few other cricket playing countries where cricket generate a lot of emotions.

In India, across age groups, cultures and class, he remained India’s favourite cricketer. Perhaps, the only agreeable point. Along with it and in quite a unique way, he was one Indian who broke all the social barriers; at least when cricket was on. For Indians living abroad, studying or working, he made their lives joyful. They were away from home; in some cases, away from their family and alone. And in that foreign land, in some ways, he provided Indians a sense of pride.

Agreed that his form was dipping, reflexes were teasing him, runs were hard to come by and there were voices asking ‘why not’ to retire now. It is not that this would be his only retirement. He retired from ODIs last year. And as ill-timed it was, it hurt. After all, he was perhaps the best ODI batsman. A trend-setter of sorts. The ODI departure was followed by his retirement from IPL and its extension CLT20. Both on a high as Mumbai Indians won both the tournaments. However, amidst all those retirements, there still was an assurance for fans to see him bat in Tests.

But with his announcement to retire from International Cricket with 2nd Test against West Indies being his last, something has broken inside. Everyone was aware that he would retire soon. But there is numbness as he has announced that when he will. The heart without trying has hit a flashback button. And the mind is doing its bit to recollect all those special moments spread across Perth, Sydney, Chennai, Napier, Capetown, Kolkata, Old Trafford, Colombo, Adelaide and many other venues around the globe.

We will have those video-clips (and thank YouTube for that). It won’t be surprising either if there come a few more to strike a chord. But to watch him live is now a matter of only 2 Tests. Accidental or not, the last of those Tests will be his 200th and final. While he always maintained that the team and game matter more than his own numbers, the stats will follow the little man.

Very recently, Ian Chappell slammed the tendency to call every second player a legend. While Chappell was right in his criticism, hyperbole is a mode where we are rapidly moving towards, if not already there. But in case, for some of us there are too many legends, just think about Sachin Tendulkar. It will help to get the meaning right.



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